10 Classic Singles Every Techno Fan Should Own
At 30 years old, it’s barely possible to scratch the surface of techno’s multifaceted sonic mutations since 1984. However, we will try with this list of 10 techno tunes you need to own.
Joey Beltram “Energy Flash” (Transmat, 1990)
Why you need it: Though released on Derrick May’s seminal Detroit techno imprint, this track by New Yorker Joey Beltram crossed all geographic boundaries, finding favor among UK ravers, Manhattan clubbers, Midwest party kids and West Coast, err, ravers. It seems that alarming synth stabs, echoing drums and a chant of “Ecstasy, ecstasy!” are pretty universal.
Plastikman “Spastik” (NovaMute, 1993)
Why you need it: Before becoming the leader of the urbane techno jet set, Richie Hawtin was cutting his teeth in the warehouses of Detroit and listening to Derrick May play helicopter sounds at ear-shattering volume. From there, it’s easy to see the genesis of his signature tune—eight minutes of rattling snare roles and thunderous 909 kicks that are still guaranteed to give dancers that acidic adrenalin taste in the back of their throats more than two decades later.
DJ Rolando “Knights of the Jaguar” (Underground Resistance, 1999)
Why you need it: Coming at the end of the 20th century, this track released by the infamously anti-establishment UR label effectively marked the end of the classic era of Detroit techno, with its refined majesty and soaring strings completing the continuum. The tune was so huge that Sony Music released an almost identical cover version when UR refused to license the track. Fifteen years later, it still opens the blinds of Panorama Bar every time.
Second-Hand Satellites “Orbit 1.3” (Hallucination, 2000)
Why you need it: You wouldn’t expect one of techno’s most sublime classics to come from Florida, the land of spring break and funky breaks, but that’s exactly the background of Second-Hand Satellites’ Christopher Milo (aka Three) and Sean Cusick. This careful crossover of slinky techno found its way into the crates of every DJ from Richie Hawtin and Laurent Garner to John Digweed and Doc Martin, making it not only a contender for top techno tune, but also top tech house, tech trance, and whatever else you feel like calling it.
LFO “Freak” (Warp, 2003)
Why you need it: The untimely passing of Mark Bell last month has initiated a revisiting of his seminal work as both an early acid house pioneer and super producer for the likes of Björk. But it’s this later release on the Warp label that stands out for its gritty fusion of bombastic rave and robot-voiced electro.Techno List 10 Songs Joey Beltram Transmat Plastikman NovaMute DJ Rolando Underground Resistance Second-Hand Satellites Hallucination LFO Warp Records John Tejada Poker Flat Rhythm & Sound Carl Craig Claude VonStroke Dirtybird Records Gaiser Minus Radio Slave Rødhåd Show more
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